Hosting foreign students will boost India’s soft power: ICCR President Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

New Delhi: Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) yesterday said that Indian universities and colleges should do more to attract foreign students as it will boost India’s soft power.

Speaking at a roundtable with Vice Chancellors on ‘Creative Economy, Nation Building: Higher Education as the Catalyst’, organized by FICCI, Dr Sahasrabuddhe said that while India is the third source country for students studying abroad, it holds the 26th position as a destination country.

“Hosting foreign students is a very significant soft power instrument,” he said and added that the Indian education system needs reforms in the methodology and the syllabi to raise its value proposition for students from India and overseas.

Dr Sahasrabuddhe highlighted some of the advantages like multi-culturalism that India can offer to the foreign students. Further, he said, “When the teacher and the learners stay together, learning and teaching happen by example. That is something we can build on.”

Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, said that the higher education has three facets namely knowledge creation, knowledge assimilation and dissemination, and knowledge application.

“We have a great development story. From 0.7% gross enrolment ratio at the time of independence, we have come to 26% plus now,” he said.

He said that examinations in Indian education system are based on rote-learning and that big changes are required in the examination system. Our Universities and colleges have to become inter-disciplinary, he added.

Dr Rajan Saxena, Vice Chancellor, NMIMS, said, “Three factors determine the growth of a nation. These are 3Ts – technology, talent and tolerance.” He also said that creativity and competitiveness of a nation are intertwined.

Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Chair, FICCI HE Committee, and Pro Chancellor, Symbiosis International University said that there should be deep discussion on how to increase the flow of foreign students to India.